The Mahabharata Home
"Draupadi said, 'Alas, on account of that desperate gambler, I am now under Sudeshna's command, living in the palace in the guise of a Sairindhri. And, O chastiser of foes, behold the plight of poignant woe which I, a princess, am now in. I am living in expectation of the close of this stated period. 1 The extreme of misery, therefore, is mine. Success of purpose, victory, and defeat, as regards mortals, are transitory. It is in this belief that I am living in expectation of the return of prosperity to my husbands. Prosperity and adversity revolve like a wheel. It is in this belief that I am living in expectation of the return of prosperity to my husbands. That cause which bringeth on victory, may bring defeat as well. I live in this hope. Why dost thou not, O Bhimasena, regard me as one dead? I have heard that persons that give may beg: that they who slay may be slain; and that they who over-throw others may themselves be overthrown by foes. Nothing is difficult for Destiny and none can over-ride Destiny. It is for this that I am awaiting the return of favourable fortune. As a tank once dried, is filled up once again, so hoping for a change for the better, I await the return of prosperity. When one's business that hath been well-provided for is seen to be frustrated, a truly wise person should never strive for bringing back good fortune. Plunged as I am an sorrow, asked or unasked by thee to explain the purpose of these words spoken by me, I shall tell thee everything. Queen of the sons of Pandu and daughter of Drupada, who else, save myself, would wish to live, having fallen into such a plight? O represser of foes, the misery, therefore, that hath overtaken me, hath really humiliated the entire Kuru race, the Panchalas, and the sons of Pandu. Surrounded by numerous brothers and father-in-law and sons, what other woman having such cause for joy, save
myself, would be afflicted with such woe? Surely, I must, in my childhood, have committed act highly offensive to Dhatri through whose displeasure, O bull of the Bharata race, I have been visited with such consequences. Mark, O son of Pandu, the pallour that hath come over my complexion which not even a life in the woods fraught as it was with extreme misery, could bring about. Thou, O Pritha's son, knowest what happiness, O Bhima, was formerly mine. Even, I, who was such have now sunk into servitude. Sorely distressed, I can find no rest. That the mighty-armed and terrible bowman, Dhananjaya the son of Pritha, should now live like a fire that hath been put out, maketh me think of all this as attributable to Destiny. Surely, O son of Pritha, it is impossible for men to understand the destinies of creatures (in this world). I, therefore, think this downfall of yours as something that could not be averted by forethought. Alas, she who hath you all, that resemble Indra himself to attend to her comforts--even she, so chaste and exalted, hath now to attend to the comforts of others, that are to her far inferior in rank. Behold, O Pandava, my plight. It is what I do not deserve. You are alive, yet behold this inversion of order that time hath brought. She who had the whole Earth to the verge of the sea under her control, is now under the control of Sudeshna and living in fear of her. She who had dependants to walk both before and behind her, alas, now herself walketh before and behind Sudeshna. This, O Kaunteya, is another grief of mine that is intolerable. O, listen to it. She who had never, save for Kunti, pounded unguents even for her own use, now, good betide thee, poundeth sandal (for others). O Kaunteya, behold these hands of mine which were not so before. Saying this she showed him her hands marked with corns. And she continued, she who had never feared Kunti herself nor thee and thy brothers, now standeth in fear before Virata as a slave, anxious of what that king of kings may say unto her regarding the proper preparation of the unguents, for Matsya liketh not sandal pounded by others.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Relating her woes thus, O Bharata, unto Bhimasena, Krishna began to weep silently, casting her eyes on Bhima. And then, with words choked in tears, and sighing repeatedly, she addressed Bhima in these words, powerfully stirring his heart, 'Signal, O Bhima, must have been my offence of old unto the gods, for, unfortunate as I am. I am yet alive, when, O Pandava, I should die.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Then that slayer of hostile heroes, Vrikodara, covering his face with those delicate hands of his wife marked with corns, began to weep. And that mighty son of Kunti, holding the hands of Draupadi in his, shed copious tears. And afflicted with great woe, he spoke these words.'"
35:1 What Draupadi means is that instead of passing her days in joy and happiness, instead of being able to wish time to be stationary with her, she is obliged in consequence of her misery, to wish time to pass off quickly.
Next: Section XXI